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Duke, coach David Cutcliffe agree to part ways after 14 seasons

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The David Cutcliffe era at Duke has come to an end.

Blue Devils athletic director Nina King announced Sunday that the university and the longtime football coach have reached a mutual agreement to part ways.

Cutcliffe has been the head coach at Duke since 2008 and brought the historically moribund program to historic success, including a division title and appearance in the ACC championship game in 2013.

Overall, Cutcliffe finishes his time in Durham with a 77-97 record in 14 seasons. That run included an ACC Coastal division title, five winning seasons, six bowl appearances and three bowl wins.

Before Cutcliffe’s 2008 arrival, Duke had been to eight bowl games in the history of its program, dating back to 1888. And in the 13 seasons that preceded Cutcliffe's arrival, Duke hadn't topped the four-win mark a single time. The Blue Devils won four games in his first season and then went 5-7 in his second season.

The peak of Cutcliffe’s tenure was a seven-year span from 2012 to 2018 with six bowl appearances. The high mark was the 2013 season when the Blue Devils had a 10-2 regular season before playing in the ACC title game and the Peach Bowl.

Duke head coach David Cutcliffe walks the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Miami, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)
Duke head coach David Cutcliffe walks the sidelines during the second half of an NCAA college football game against Miami, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in Durham, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Seward)

Since then the Blue Devils have a combined 10-25 record over the past three seasons. That includes a 4-22 record in conference games. This year, Duke finished 3-9 overall with an 0-8 record in ACC play.

"After some detailed and amiable discussions with Nina King, we've mutually decided that it is the right time for change in the leadership of Duke Football," Cutcliffe said in a statement. "Karen and I have loved our time in Durham. Duke University will always hold a special place in our hearts."

Added King: "We are extremely grateful for David's leadership over the past 14 seasons. He lifted our program to unprecedented heights, both on and off the field, while maintaining the core values of the university and we could not be more appreciative of his mentorship of every student-athlete who played for Duke during his tenure. David and Karen have been tremendous ambassadors of Duke University and the Durham community and we wish them, along with their family, all the best going forward."

Cutcliffe, 67, said he is unsure what the next step in his career will be.

"I'm not sure just yet what the future will look like, but I am looking forward to some family time to reflect a bit on the past and see what the future holds," Cutcliffe said.

Before landing the Duke job, Cutcliffe had a six-year run as the head coach at Ole Miss, where he coached Eli Manning. Before that, Cutcliffe was a longtime offensive assistant at Tennessee, where he rose to prominence for developing quarterbacks, including Peyton Manning.